The first thing I built on a computer wasn’t all that different from the last thing I built on one.
That first computer was a Macintosh Classic II. It was one of those beige boxes with the handle on the top, a black and white screen that was—what—maybe twice the size of an iPhone 6 Plus, and “Property of Cambridge Public Schools” stamped on its side for reasons I won’t be getting into here.
I used HyperStudio to make games. Point-and-click adventure games, puzzle games—even a couple of action games, by cycling through cards as though they were individual frames of animation. It worked a little bit like Keynote or Powerpoint, except with user interaction. I didn’t know what HyperStudio was designed to do, though I was pretty sure it wasn’t originally meant for games. A card was a rectangle I filled with images and text. Click a button and it sent you to the card I specified; click a different button and go somewhere else. It forced me to think within a set of constraints, sure, but I made it work. This is not entirely unlike present day.
The last thing I built on a computer—well, helped to build—was a suite of DOM-based games.
The games we’ve built came with all the bells and whistles you should expect, from sound and animation to gritty details like collision detection, but with a few unique features—features we weren’t willing to compromise on, especially under the banner of “Open Web Games.” They’re built on a fast, accessible, infinitely consumable foundation, because that’s what we believe any contribution to the web should be—that’s the kind of game that we consider to be truly open.
The DOM gave us some tricky constraints to work with, for sure, but those constraints led us to solutions that we’re all really proud of. So, we’ve started developing a new set of tools for building modern DOM-based games; to help with responsible asset management, animation, responsive layouts, and more. These tools let us build games in the browser that don’t have to compromise on aesthetics, performance, or accessibility.
We’re looking forward to sharing more details, documentation, and demos of those solutions with all of you very soon, but we wanted to share the conclusion we reached together sooner: that we’ve seen a way forward for Open Web Games using the DOM, and we’re excited to play our part in exploring it further.